Nigerian John Kalzi, 26, wants her four-month-old baby boy, Miracle, to grow up and work in the area of cancer research.
Miracle was born when Kalzi was undergoing chemotherapy at a city hospital for breast cancer.
Diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in the sixth month of her pregnancy, doctors in Nigeria advised Kalzi to terminate the pregnancy as chemotherapy could endanger the baby. “I did not want to lose my child,” Kalzi said.
Desperate to seek a solution, Kalzi visited a medical camp in Nigeria to take a second opinion and met doctors from Mumbai’s Fortis Hospital.
Kalzi flew to Mumbai for treatment and last September delivered a healthy boy weighing 3.5 kg at the Mulund hospital. “I was apprehensive that the chemotherapy would affect the baby in the womb. But after delivering a healthy baby, my family and I were so overwhelmed that we decided to name him, Miracle,” said Kalzi.
According to doctors, around 2.5% per 10,000 deliveries in the world involve mothers suffering from breast cancer.
Dr Arun Bhel, consultant onco-surgeon at Fortis Hospital, said they faced a dilemma about how to treat Eliza’s cancer and save the baby as well. Breast cancer is found to be more aggressive in younger patients (pre-menopausal patients), said Dr Boman Dhabar, oncologist. “We suggested removal of the cancerous tumor,” said Dr Bhel.
“We took utmost care to protect the baby during evaluation and protected the foetus from radiations by putting a lead shield on the abdomen. Also, Instead of doing mammography we did breast sonography and did only one X-ray of the chest,” added Dr Bhel.
Kalzi underwent a mastectomy to remove her right breast. Local control was important by doing mastectomy, said doctors. Kalzi was then put on chemotherapy and given injections of Cyclophosphamide and Adriamycin drugs, which were found be safe during pregnancy as the drugs do not enter the placenta. Her four cycles of chemotherapy were spread over 21 days.
After delivery, Kalzi continued four cycles of chemotherapy with injection of Docetaxel drug to have complete control of the tumor cells and was given radiation to consolidate disease control. She was not allowed to breastfeed the baby as chemotherapy drugs could affect the infant, said Dr Atul Ganatra, consultant gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital.
Kalzi will have to undergo radiation treatment for another three weeks, before she flies back to Nigeria with Miracle.